Kobe Bryant is certainly in the twilight of his career after several injuries have disrupted the last couple of seasons for the Black Mamba.
The latest complication for the Lakers superstar is a shoulder injury that ruled him out for the rest of this season after surgery. Bryant says he will be back fit for September, but reports have suggested that he could simply retire.
However, time and time again in the last few weeks, Bryant has denied that retiring from the Lakers is an option and this week he even revealed that he is set to adopt a huge change to his game for the 2015/16 NBA season.
Bryant concedes that he is nowhere near in the same shape physically as he was in his prime for the Lakers. Despite returning this year and posting plenty of points, Kobe's body again cost him a full season. Some Lakers fans argue that Bryant took too much control of Lakers affairs on the court while he was fit this season, but the Black Mamba says he will change things up in a huge way next season.
''I don't have the physical ability that I had back then. Doesn't mean I can't still be a dominant, or great player with some change," Kobe said this week.
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According to reports, Kobe then went further and suggested that players such as himself that don't have the necessary speed or athleticism anymore can still be top players.
Good news for Lakers fans
Lakers fans will be glad to hear that Kobe plans to stop burning himself out. During the games in which he played well this season, Kobe was too much the main man, setting a career-high with 17 assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Despite the obvious short-term gains for the Lakers of Kobe performing to a high level, the minutes and high usage rate was ultimately too much for Bryant's body.
Hopefully with a more well adjusted Kobe next year and the addition of a star free agent the Lakers can finally get back to the playoffs.
So what do you think Lakers fans? What do the Lakers need to do during the summer to become a playoff contender again? And is Kobe still crucial to those plans? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.